Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Champion Pauper – Romney Marsh Workhouse - 2 May 1890

The Romney Marsh Guardians at a recent meeting had before them a report of the death of Sarah Ann Collick, who died in the workhouse a few days before. The birth certificate of the deceased showed that she was born at the adjacent town of Lydd, on July 16,1791, so that she was within a few months of attaining 99 years of age. But the most extraordinary fact connected with the deceased was that she had lived in a workhouse continuously for the long period of 83 years. The books of the union workhouse showed that on its establishment in 1835 Sarah was received there from the Lydd Workhouse, which was done away with on Lydd being merged in the Romney Marsh Union.

She had entered the workhouse on February 1807, she having been in domestic service and met with an accident. She completely recovered, but nothing could induce her to leave, and a somewhat unfortunate acerbity of temper was shown against any person offering to give her a trial as a servant. Being thoroughly at home in the workhouse rules and regulations, she was very useful while she was able-bodied.

She had hoarded up in a curious antique purse a small sum, which it appeared she was very anxious, should be devoted to providing brass furniture and a nameplate for her coffin, but after her death her wish was unfortunately overlooked. The coins were counted by the vice-chairman of the board, and found to amount to 10s Id. She had cost the ratepayer's some £1000 or £1,100. But her usefulness while she was able-bodied should be set against this.

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